The need for brands to invest in creating valuable content has never been more apparent, especially when the majority of Americans are flat-out ignoring traditional advertisements. 82% of Americans ignore online ads—73% ignore online banner ads, 62% ignore social media ads and 59% percent ignore search engine ads. In response, more and more businesses are investing in brand storytelling via content marketing: 50% of US marketers surveyed by eMarketer reported an increase in branded content spend in 2015 compared to 40% in 2014.
Branded content offers advertisers the opportunity to truly engage consumers with storytelling in a way that doesn’t push products and promotions. Brands are also acting as publishers and creating engaging content hubs to attract and build relationships with an audience to increase their likelihood of making a purchase in the future.
But how effective are these branded content efforts? 55% of US agency and brand professionals say it’s difficult to measure the ROI of branded content, but a recent study by Forbes and IPG Media Lab uncovered new insights on how branded content can drastically improve awareness, recall and perception. Here are the key findings:
Branded content drives recall and interest
When compared to display ads, branded content is more effective at driving recall, favorability and consideration. Recall is 59% higher for branded content. Additionally, branded content may drive lasting interest in the brand. Consumers were 14% more likely to say they intend to seek out more information about the brand in the future after a single exposure to a branded asset.
Branded content is perceived as more valuable
People perceive branded content as being more consumer-centric because it is less about selling products and more about providing value to consumers. Additionally, branded content was perceived more positively than display ads, with consumers more likely believing that the content is intended to educate.
Branded content is more memorable
The study found branded content is 2X more memorable than display ads, and this trend has grown over time. In 2016, branded content was rated at 3X more effective than display ads compared to only 1.2X in 2013.
Branded content is here to stay
Results from the study indicate branded content is still highly effective in 2016 and will continue to be a key factor in content marketing strategies. However, marketers are still challenged with how to measure the business value of their own branded content efforts.
Operational ROI: This approach concerns “dollarizing” content impact in terms of direct economic impact. Examples include cost per page view equivalency with other programs or cost/time savings.
Engagement: Beyond clicks and pageviews, attention metrics like scroll rate and dwell time are indicators of engagement. Even more useful are repeat engagement metrics or “relationship metrics,” which can indicate how successful your content is at capturing and retaining an audience. Repeat engagement metrics include repeat engagement rate, content per repeat user and visits per repeat user.
Sales lift: For many organizations, sales enablement is one of the top use cases for content. In these organization, revenue attribution may be the core metric when determining the value of a branded asset.
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